What to do in a car accident

Today’s cars are safer than ever. But even with added safety features, car accidents continue to happen daily. A collision is not impossible, even if you are a cautious driver.  Somebody else is bound to be drunk or driving under the influence, reckless, speeding, or simply negligent when driving the car. A driver may be distracted because they are texting while driving. As such, crashes happen.

As a motorist, you need to know applicable laws, especially if you get involved in a traffic accident. You should know what to file in an accident report, how to collect evidence, when to call insurance companies, and when to get an accident lawyer.

What you do after an auto accident in Monroe LA can determine whether you get your medical bills and car repairs paid. It can also keep you from breaking Louisiana state laws and having your driver’s license from being suspended. 

Also, if you were at fault for a vehicular accident, the actions you take after that can significantly impact your rights.

Our Monroe personal injury lawyers advise the following actions to take after the accident:


1. Relocate to a secure location.

If it is safe to do so, move your vehicle to the shoulder or somewhere safe.  Vehicles obstructing traffic can cause further severe injuries to you or other accident victims; however, if it poses more danger to move the cars, leave them where they are.

Furthermore, unless the vehicles pose a considerable threat, you ought to leave the vehicles as they are if there was a fatality or someone was gravely injured in a car accident. 


2. Do not admit the accident is your fault.

It is vital not to admit to any wrongdoing even if you think the accident was your fault.

You may be wrong. The other driver may be partially to blame under Louisiana’s “pure comparative negligence” standard. The standard means that each driver involved in an accident is responsible for their relative liability or percentage of fault in the accident. Even apologizing can be misunderstood and keep you from getting the compensatory damages you need from your or the other driver’s insurance company.

However, it is not wrong to ask about the other driver’s condition if he needs medical assistance. If the other driver insists that you take the blame, politely ask them to call your insurer.


3. Call emergency services

Whether the accident injuries are minor or if you were seriously wounded and require prompt medical assistance, do not wait for the authorities. Call 911 or ask somebody else to call for you. Seek medical care for your injuries and continue to document your symptoms or the onset of new symptoms following the injury. Obtain medical care for diagnosis, treatment, and documentation of your injuries. Doing so will enable you to record your injuries which can help you file a personal injury case. 


4. Take pictures of the scene of the accident.

Pictures of the accident scene and the vehicles involved can help your car accident lawyer or adjuster establish what took place. The photos can also prevent false claims against you that you are responsible for the damages to the vehicle or property.

5. Document your version of the accident right away.

As soon as you can, write down everything you can think of about the accident, no matter how trivial it may seem. You must record the details sooner because there may be instances that you will find it difficult to recall important information due to the shock of the accident. Such information may include, but is not limited to the following:

  • The date and time of the accident, 
  • The cross streets and direction of travel of each vehicle,
  • Your best estimate of each driver’s speed, 
  • The color of any visible traffic lights, and
  • Any adverse road conditions (such as potholes or bad weather).


6. Document your injuries.

Take, or have somebody else take pictures of any visible injuries with your phone or camera. If you seek medical treatment, ask a nurse or other health professional to take photos of your injuries as well. 

As soon as you can, jot down or record your impressions of what hurts or is damaged. The more proof you have of your injuries, the better the opportunity to get the recovery benefit you are entitled to.


7.  File a police report.

The state of Louisiana requires that a law enforcement officer be notified of the accident. Under Louisiana law, motorists involved in an automobile accident must report the accident to the local police department whenever an injury or death occurs or over $500 in property damages.

Furthermore, under the terms and conditions of most automobile insurance policies, you are required to call the police after any motor vehicle accident. Doing so will be beneficial to your case since the authorities will provide an official record. The police officer will come to the accident scene, assess the damages and surroundings, take insurance and personal information from all parties involved, and question any available witnesses.


8. Exchange contact details with the other driver/s and witnesses.

Ask to see the other driver’s license, insurance card, and registration. Write down the numbers. It will be better if you can take a photo of these documents, as well. If possible, you should get contact information from everyone else who was involved in or who witnessed the accident.

If a law enforcement officer arrived at the scene, get the officer’s name and write it down as well. Make sure you also give your information to the other driver, regardless of who was at fault.


9.Record details about the other vehicles involved.

Once you have moved the cars (if appropriate) and/or sought medical attention for those injured, document in  writing or through photos the following information: 

  • The license plate number of every other vehicle involved in the accident,
  • The year, make, model, and color of the other vehicle(s), and
  • If possible, the other vehicle(s)’ Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

You will need the above information when you file a police report. Having a record of such information will be crucial for your car accident attorney to win your personal injury case.

10. Do not claim you are not injured.

Car accident injuries are not always evident. Even if you think you were not hurt, do not tell that to the other driver. Some physical injuries like whiplash or soft tissue injuries may not be apparent right after a car accident. If you say you are not hurt, the driver’s insurance company can compensate you for lesser than the amount due to you; if not, deny your claim. Facing the possibility of getting smaller compensation does not mean you should lie because lying can undermine your credibility. You can merely state that you are not aware of any injuries but will be getting yourself checked, to be sure. 


11. Contact your Monroe personal injury attorney.

Your Monroe personal injury lawyer may help safeguard your rights and establish whether you have a right to compensation. Our injury lawyers may be able to assist you in finding a doctor who will accept a medical lien if you cannot afford to pay for treatment. Our skilled lawyers may also craft an insurance demand letter that may very likely get you a settlement offer. 

Our experienced Monroe personal injury lawyer may deal with your own and the other party’s insurance adjusters so that you may get the best possible settlement. Take note that claims for personal injury and property damage following motor vehicle accidents are time-sensitive. Under Louisiana law, the statute of limitations for filing a suit to recover damages from an accident is one year from the date of the accident. If you fail to file your personal injury claim before the statute of limitations runs, the other party will be able to file a motion requesting the court to dismiss your injury claim against them.

If you or someone you know was involved in a car accident, do not hesitate to contact our Louisiana personal injury law firm. Our competent car accident attorneys at E Orum Young have handled many personal injury cases and will do their best to help you get the compensation you deserve. Call us for a free consultation.